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Autonomous Devices for Digital Warehousing

Most warehousing activities and processes are still performed manually. However, new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, IoT, and wearables will without a doubt transform the world of warehousing. With the support of artificial intelligence, big data, and advanced predictive analytics, warehouse planning and analysis is expected to evolve to the next level.

Digital technologies have the potential to create sustainable value for all stakeholders involved in the warehousing process. The following examples show how various technologies can boost warehousing efficiency and output quality.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

A thing in the internet of things can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and is able to transfer data over a network.

Increasingly, organizations in a variety of industries are using IoT to operate more efficiently, better understand customers to deliver enhanced customer service, improve decision-making and increase the value of the business.

Internet of Things (IoT)
Image taken from https://blog.equinix.com/blog/2016/01/18/how-to-speak-like-a-data-center-geek-internet-of-things

The IoT offers a number of benefits to organizations, enabling them to:

• Monitor their overall business processes;
• Improve the customer experience;
• Save time and money;
• Enhance employee productivity;
• Integrate and adapt business models;
• Make better business decisions; and
• Generate more revenue.

Autonomous Mobile Picker

Swift is an autonomous, material-picking robot, offering features like no other. With integrated obstacle detection technology, Swift navigates multiple aisles to move safely and accurately. Swift is capable of picking and transporting products at human-level speeds and enables you to scale operations more cost-effectively. Swift can work alone or simultaneously as a fleet to transform your pack and ship operations into a competitive weapon.

Swift easily integrates into warehouse operations without requiring changes to existing infrastructure. Navigating multiple aisles and picking at or above human-level speeds, Swift enables users to cost-effectively streamline operations and handle the increasing pressures of e-commerce. Swift Autonomous Material Picker/suction grip is designed for grabbing lightweight objects that would be typical in many warehouse pick-and-place environments, as shown in the pictures below.

warehouse robots smarten
Images taken from https://www.electronicdesign.com/automotive/warehouse-robots-smarten

The robot can navigate by itself, detect and avoid obstacles, stop safely, and manoeuvre a warehouse with agility. It can work safely in conjunction with human pickers, can travel at up a jogging speed, turn on a dime, and pivot in place to fit between aisles. It uses the company’s RapidVision technology to see and locate objects in 3D in real time. This is done via depth sensors and computing to gather 3D geometric information. This data is then matched to data collected with the Flash scanner. The easily transportable Flash scans products to create a uniform item database, while also teaching Swift how to recognize the products it retrieves. It collects data on SKUs including weight, cube, high-resolution 2D images, and 3D geometry models, then stores this information in a database, allowing Swift to recognize and pick the correct item.


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References

Craig G. (2018). “4 types of Autonomous Mobile Robots, and their Warehouse Use Cases”. Retrieved from https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/4-types-of-autonomous-mobile-robots-and-their-warehouse-use-cases/529548, accessed 11/9/2018.

Ee Soon Sern, DLSM. (2018). “Autonomous Mobile Robotics for Effective Warehousing”. Retrieved from SIPMM: https://publication.sipmm.edu.sg/autonomous-mobile-robotics-effective-warehousing, accessed 11/9/2018.

Grey Orange (2018) “Enabling distribution efficiency for Consumer Product Goods Company”. Retrieved from https://www.greyorange.com/case-study/distribution-center-robotic-automation, accessed 11/9/2018.

I AmRobotics. (2018). “I Am Swift”. Retrieved from https://www.iamrobotics.com/products/swift, accessed 11/9/2018.

Margaret R. (2018). “Internet of Things (IoT)”. Retrieved from https://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/definition/Internet-of-Things-IoT, accessed 11/9/2018.

Naveen J. (2017). “The Power of Robots in a Warehouse”. Retrieved from https://www.allerin.com/blog/the-power-of-robots-in-a-warehouse, accessed 11/9/2018.

Sabine M. (2017). “Drones, Autonomous Vehicles, Robots – The future of warehousing”. Retrieved from https://sabinext.com/drones-autonomous-vehicles-robots-the-future-of-warehousing, accessed 11/9/2018.

Surendran, DLSM. (2018). “Adopting New Technologies for Effective Warehousing”.
Retrieved from SIPMM: https://publication.sipmm.edu.sg/adopting-new-technologies-effective-warehousing, accessed 11/9/2018.

Helmi Salleh, ADLSM
Helmi Salleh, ADLSM
Helmi Salleh has substantive years of experience in the professional field of warehousing and logistics operations. He is a member of the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM). Helmi holds the Diploma in Logistics and Supply Management (DPSM) from SIPMM. He completed Advanced Diploma in Logistics and Supply Management (ADLSM) course on October 2018 at SIPMM Institute.
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